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The Possible Trial of Former Nigerien President was a Hot Topic in Niamey on Monday

Niger’s military says it will prosecute deposed President Mohamed Bazoum for treason, hours after a group of senior Islamic scholars said the country’s coup leaders are open to diplomacy to resolve their standoff with West Africa’s regional bloc. In a statement read out on national television late on Sunday, a spokesman for Niger’s military laid out the charges against Bazoum as “high treason and undermining the internal and external security” of the country. The United Nations and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) condemned the announcement. Bazoum, 63, and his family have been held at the president’s official residence in Niamey since the coup on July 26, with international concern mounting over their conditions in detention. ECOWAS has called for Bazoum’s reinstatement, imposing severe economic sanctions on Niger and threatening military intervention if civilian rule is not restored. The prospect of a military intervention to reinstate Bazoum has divided ECOWAS members and drawn warnings from foreign powers including Russia and Algeria. Niger’s neighbours Mali and Burkina Faso, also ruled by military governments which seized power in coups, have said intervention would be tantamount to a declaration of war on them.